Recently, the show ring side of the beef industry has been receiving more social media attention than ever before. Consumers have established the idea of “Fluffy Cows” as a breed of cattle that exists. For those who were raised around the show industry, washing, blowdrying, and brushing cattle to help their hair grow is merely an after school activity. However, to the general public being exposed to the competitive world of livestock shows has probably been refined to their annual trip to the county fair.
While the sudden notice of the beef industry from consumers is a surprising change and in a way pleasant recognition, as an industry, do we really want our reputation to be transformed into a “Disney effect”? In Amanda Radke’s blog post concerning the Fluffy Cow debate she refers to the equine industry’s past, too:
“Look what has happened to the equine industry and horse slaughter. Americans are outraged and disgusted at the idea of eating horses — even though many parts of the world enjoy this protein. Why? Because their idea of a horse is formed from media – think “Seabiscuit” or “Black Beauty.””
Personally, I don’t believe that allowing consumers to animate our industry will be beneficial to the messages we are trying to convey at all. In addition to that, PETA has of course taken the idea of the fluffy cow and transformed it into an anti-beef consumption campaign.
Fluffy cows are night a breed of beef cattle nor should we allow consumers to believe this is the status quo for american livestock, because that is far from the truth. Although the show industry is within the beef industry, the way they are raised and bred are two completely separate entities. Animating our livelihoods will not gain the respect of the public, it will only increase the misconceptions they form about what we do.